UN - Country Commercial Guide
Selling to the Public Sector
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The United Nations is a multilateral international organization financed by contributions from its 193 member states. The broader UN system, which includes many affiliated programmes, funds, and specialized agencies, is financed through voluntary rather than assessed contributions.

Buying within the UN system is carried out by procurement teams, who are responsible for all actions necessary for the acquisition, by purchase or lease, of property, including products and real property, and of services, including works.

The procurement rules and procedures of the various organizations reflect institutional differences as well as differences in size, activities and years of existence. However, common principles are applicable throughout the system of organizations. The one most significant common denominator for the UN system is that it operates with “public funds,” requiring that equal opportunity to participate be given to potential suppliers from all member countries.

U.S. Government Assistance

The U.S. Commercial Service New York (U.S. Department of Commerce) and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (U.S. Department of State) manage a joint program to assist U.S. companies with UN procurement. Together, the U.S. Commercial Service and the U.S. Mission to the UN provide American businesses with 1) greater access and exposure to the United Nations procurement market, 2) individual vendor counseling and access to UN Procurement Officials, 3) U.S. Government advocacy for the use of U.S. technology and products in UN operations, and 4) support for a fair and transparent UN bidding process.

Additionally, the U.S. Commercial Service New York organizes UN procurement seminars and webinars during which attendees receive an introduction to UN procurement and have the opportunity to engage with UN procurement officials.

Market challenges associated with UN procurement, including international competition, conservative vendor selection, lengthy business development cycles, and sustainable development goals, should be reviewed when considering a UN procurement project.

Please visit: https://www.trade.gov/united-nations or contact the U.S. Commercial Service New York City office for additional information.

U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.